Abbreviations on your website

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Just wondering, if you see an abbreviation, for example: Addtl charge may apply.  Do you feel this should be spelled out on your B&B website? I ask as there can be so much text on it, and seeing this abbrev "Addtl" does it impact you or do you not even notice or care?

Say this is at the end of a whole page of policies.

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Arks's picture
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It's nice to travel in Ecuador where the local money IS the USD. They buy on the cheap the used, worn out US money, plus the things we won't use, like the $2 bill and the dollar coin. It's a lot cheaper for them than printing and coining their own money. Panama also has USD as the national currency but that may have started when we "owned" them and they never changed it. Anyway, it's nice to travel and not have to deal with currency exchange rates. Plus they're in our time zone so there's no jet lag.

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Generic's picture
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Arkansawyer wrote:

It's nice to travel in Ecuador where the local money IS the USD. They buy on the cheap the used, worn out US money, plus the things we won't use, like the $2 bill and the dollar coin. It's a lot cheaper for them than printing and coining their own money. Panama also has USD as the national currency but that may have started when we "owned" them and they never changed it. Anyway, it's nice to travel and not have to deal with currency exchange rates. Plus they're in our time zone so there's no jet lag.

Ecuador changed to the USD because of hyper-inflation. There are a few countries in the world that don't have their own currency, the Vatican, Andorra, BVI, Greenland, Tibet, Tartarstan, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Kosovo, etc. The problem is that you no longer have control over your currency and unless your main trading partner is that country a significan shift in currency can also wreck havoc. But if your main trading partner is that country, it's fine. But you can't control your own banking interest rates, another country and it's policies and needs dictate it. It seems convenient, but it can be detrimental to a countries growth if they have a significant economy.

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I made the mistake once of (and this was to an english person) of saying do you know roughly what time your are coming? they wanted to know why i was asking if they were having a rough time! 

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Arks's picture
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We constantly get things addressed to Ourtown, Arizona because the shippers think "AR" is Arizona. Luckily, the zip code is all the postal services ever really look at, and that gets it to Arkansas.

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...sidetracking, I saw this on the In the Words of 100 it made me chuckle.

"The amount of work surprised me. I had this glamorous idea that everyone would be nice and I’d be in a good mood everyday. That proved wildly wrong."

 

Once we shared our "first guest" stories and I remember how disappointed I was with our first, which was an internet hook up/tryst. They didn't show for my first breakfast ever. They were busy.

Whenever we think we can let it get personal, it always is. So to think we will have happy and nice guests, is not the way it is. It is a pipe dream.

Generic's picture
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We try not to. Too many foreign guests who don't understand it. The only one that we repeatedly use is CAD USD, GBP and EUR which are the currencies we generally deal with. I find that some Americans don't understands USD so I sometimes use US$, even thought USD is the international currency code for the US Dollar. Everyone else is used to deal with multiple currencies, so we've seen the three letter abbrevations for currency code all over the place.

I can't manage to get my PC to write the two different currency symbols for dollar. The CAD is a $ with a single line and the USD is a $ with a double line. But that would be even more confusing.

There is also this nonsense with our provincial code. The two letter code for the province is currently QC but it used to be PQ but we still sometimes see QU instead. The three letter is easy, it's Que.

Madeleine's picture
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We stopped using the double line dollar sign a long time ago. No one should be confused by seeing a single line dollar sign. I will use 'USD' when quoting prices to guests in other countries.

I think what you consistently forget is that Americans do not travel as much as other nationalities do. Therefore, they never see their currency written as 'USD'. There is no need to use it in country. Most of us know it because we have to. I tend to collect odd bits of information (some would say trivia), but it's not a wide-spread activity to know the currency symbols for many countries unless you have a need to know them.

Look how many people can't keep track of who's playing in the Olympics because flags are used to denote the country. (Altho, I will proudly say that my 4 yo grandson can name almost every country in the world by its flag and point it out on a map, but again, there's that trivia gene coming out.)

I'd hazard a guess you could find a few innkeepers in the US who do not know all of the postal abbreviations for the states and some who don't know all the states written out in full.

I've seen PQ and QC and Que come thru on reservation requests where the guests give me their info in an email. I roll with it. My program has QC so that's what they get back.

 

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Generic's picture
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Oh, I realize that. I deal with it all the time. I haven't yet had a European ask me if they can pay in Euros in the stores. Not an Aussie ask me to pay in AUD and not a Brit ask me if they can pay in GBP. Yet when I mention to Americans that USD is not legal tender in Canada they look at me like I'm from outer space.

Thing is, most businesses will accept USD around here, but the exchange rate sucks. The worst part, the more they deal with Americans, the more abusive they seem. The exchange rate at places like fast food chains is sometimes just abusive. 

Madeleine's picture
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I will hazard a guess why they might ask that/think that. The couple of places I have been out of the country that were 'nearby' WANTED American dollars. You paid in USD and you got back the local money. So, all prices in local money, but they wanted you to pay that number in USD. Essentially paying a substantially higher amount than a local would pay.

So, the places Americans go (the Caribbean) have trained them that foreign countries accept USD. Gladly. Many places didn't want me to pay in local money. They kept pushing it away saying the prices were in USD, I had to pay in USD. My guess is they did that to all customers no matter what country. Expecting payment in the more valuable currency.

Americans don't expect to use USD in Europe. But I bet no one in Mexico turns down USD for payment. So, you see where the disconnect comes in. Most Americans don't go to Europe, they stay closer to home. After all, most of us traveled a long way to get here in the first place.

We use CA coins here on an equal footing. Not dollars, but coins no one bothers with. Here. Heaven help me if I go out of northern New England. You'd think I was some sort of career criminal the way I've been treated for giving a clerk a CA quarter.

 

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On my last trip in Canada (1994) I was traveling with friends and this happened twice. To me in Montreal and to my friend in Quebec City the next day.

I had made a pruchase in the morning and not having enough Canadian, used a US $50 and got back change in Canadian getting change for $62.50, apparently the rate of exchange that day. That afternoon, she & I went to the laundromat and had lunch while things dried. She went back to check the laundry and I stayed to pay the check. I had left a handful of US coin s tip but found I did not have enough Canadian (again)  for both of our lunches so i gave the waitress my smallest bill - a $50. She counted out my change in Canadian and stopped at $50. I scooped up the coin I had left on the table - figured she got a big enough tip already. I also looked at it as my fault because I did not have smaller bills and had not changed enough money to have what was needed. I figured she must have needed the money more than I did and that is what I told my friend.

The same thing happened to her the next day when she made a purchase. She decided to adopt my reasoning. Neither of us blamed Canadians - it was the actions of 2 individuals. I have not been back only due to lack of opportunity (we were on our way to a Maine windjammer cruise).

Madeleine's picture
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Interesting. I watched a kid at a craft fair pay some Canadians to come in. They handed him CAD and he gave them change in USD well over the exchange rate. (He had the exchange rate backwards.)

We used to offer Canadians the ability to pay in CAD but no one took us up on it. We mentioned we'd use an international exchange rate calculator on the day of arrival so it might be better or worse for them but there would be no fee for exchanging and no cc processing exchange fee. CAD is the only foreign currency I can exchange at my bank. Anything else and I have to go into the city.

Generic's picture
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Canadians are so used to deal with USD that we don't really worry about it, much. You can even get a MC or Visa in USD from the bank. I have a USD bank account as well. 

Generic's picture
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Today the exchange is close to 1 for 1. But if you get 95c on the dollar for US currency you are doing well. The American stores on the other side of the border do the same for us. Last year it was USD1.05 = CAD$1.00 and the American stores were still giving us 95c on the dollar. Some of the "generous" stores were at par. I paid in USD, just easier than getting ripped off.

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Madeleine wrote:
We use CA coins here on an equal footing. Not dollars, but coins no one bothers with. Here. Heaven help me if I go out of northern New England. You'd think I was some sort of career criminal the way I've been treated for giving a clerk a CA quarter.

Also, the CA coins won't work in most coin-operated machines (vending, laundry, toll booths, etc...) since they are just different enough in dimension and weight.

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Madeleine's picture
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Harborfields wrote:

Madeleine wrote:
We use CA coins here on an equal footing. Not dollars, but coins no one bothers with. Here. Heaven help me if I go out of northern New England. You'd think I was some sort of career criminal the way I've been treated for giving a clerk a CA quarter.

Also, the CA coins won't work in most coin-operated machines (vending, laundry, toll booths, etc...) since they are just different enough in dimension and weight.

Toll booths, no. Before they changed everything to a buck here I used to get caught short not looking at the coins and having to keep throwing quarters in until they registered. BUT, vending machines you can spin the quarters as you let them go and they get by.

gillumhouse's picture
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I can't manage to get my PC to write the two different currency symbols for dollar. The CAD is a $ with a single line and the USD is a $ with a double line. But that would be even more confusing.

Not to worry. My USA keyboard has the single line - $ also. I do not have the sign for the pound however.

Generic's picture
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€uro is ALT-0128

The Pou£d is ALT-0163

And if you have a ¥en for it, it's ALT-0165

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Thanks, or is that thank you, I changed it.  I never thought much about it in the instance it was used, but someone emailed me. Yes, they did. No I am not kidding, or in this case "Nope ain't kiddin'!"  

Madeleine's picture
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Someone asked what the abbreviation meant? Actually sat down and emailed to ask what it meant? They do find you.

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 NK!

I had another email this week asking what BOGO meant as it is in the policies and they booked online. So I guess I better go remove it, it said something that if you have Reserved a BOGO special then ...and mentioned some policies.  I will do that now, before I pass out from hunger bye

OnTheShore's picture
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The use of acronyms or initials might be okay if they are spelled out and identified earlier on in the document, but I agree that abbreviations and other forms of short-hand notation would be better spelled out. The one exception I can see where it might make sense to do otherwise would be in address blocks, for example "PO Box" instead of "Post Office Box," "St." instead of "Street," "Ave." instead of "Avenue," "NH" for "New Hampshire," and so on.

What about contractions? Can we use them, or should we spell them out completely, too?

Madeleine's picture
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Harborfields wrote:

What about contractions? Can we use them, or should we spell them out completely, too?

I think with contractions it's best to say it out loud to see how it sounds. Sometimes 'it is' sounds way too formal and dictatorial, whereas 'it's' gets the point across without sounding like Miss Manners or my third grade teacher, Sister Mary Annunciata. Shiver!

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05/30/2008

I also think you need to spell it out to avoid any confusion. 

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Spell it out, if English is a 2nd language, they may not know the meaning.

Arks's picture
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I'm also the type to spell things out. In the whole scheme of things the abbreviations don't really save all that much space, and I think they make things look hurried, without as much attention to detail, though I understand the benefit of having text on a website appear brief and to the point.

I guess I'd opt more for thoughtful, concise writing style over abbreviating. Save space by avoiding wordiness.

Madeleine's picture
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Spell it out. There are those who have never had a class on abbreviations and won't have a clue what it means.

 

Weaver's picture
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Even as a pitiful speller and a freelance writer abbreviations are almost never appropriate in a formal document. Not to mention IMHO conveying your meaning in a concise somewhat formal manner to a broad public is better than appearing to be too familiar, lest the guests won't take you seriously. 

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